Industry Innovators Team Up to Define Free and Open Standards for Spot Advertising
Springfield, MA, USA. April 05, 2001.
Ad2Media, AdConnections, eMadison, InVision, Inc., MediaGravity, MediaOcean, MediaPartnerships, Spheric Media, SQAD, and VCI Collaborate to Standardize and Accelerate Online Buying and Selling
Twelve companies involved in developing technology and services for the media industry announced today that they are joining forces to develop open and freely-available XML-based standards. The group initially intends to develop a set of standards that encompass the business transactions that occur over the life cycle of a television advertising order. The first set of standards will be published by June 30. The companies believe this initiative will help reduce inefficiencies in the ad buying and selling process, shorten the development cycle required to bring new innovations to market, and accelerate acceptance of online transaction processing in the media industry.
In addition to VCI, which hosted today's initial discussion in Springfield, MA, other companies participating in the effort include Ad2Media, AdConnections, eMadison, InVision, Inc., MediaGravity, MediaOcean, MediaPartnerships, Spheric Media, and SQAD.
The US broadcast industry alone generates approximately $15 billion in annual revenues from television spot advertising. The process of buying and selling is predominantly manual and, according the Television Bureau of Advertising, the basic life cycle of a single spot TV buy can involve re-keying of redundant data as many as five times. The inevitable result of this manual processing is a high degree of errors, increased paperwork, and slower reconciliation and payment.
While the broadcast industry has become increasingly interested in the electronic exchange of information, to date there has been no successful attempt at defining technical standards for handling the various business transactions from the original order through changes, makegood notifications, revisions, and invoicing. By developing standards that are open and freely available without licensing requirements or other restrictions, the twelve companies believe they can help bring the industry closer to full end-to-end electronic commerce.
Acting as spokesperson for the group, W. Lowell Putnam, president and CEO of VCI, said the standards initiative began after several companies expressed an interest in developing and adhering to a common set of standards.
VCI invited representatives from each of the companies to participate in today's discussion during which the group established a timetable, prioritized a list of transactions, and organized into smaller working groups focused on creating draft standards. The group intends to publish the first set of standards before June 30 of this year. Ultimately, the group hopes that the new standards will be used by all companies involved in developing technologies that facilitate the buying and selling of air time.
"In industry after industry, it has been proven that the greatest increases in efficiency can be achieved at the lowest possible costs when all of the players adhere to a common set of standards," said Putnam. "We believe that the best people to develop the standards are those who understand both the industry and the technology. And while some of the people participating in this effort offer competitive solutions, in the end, everyone wins because we are all better positioned to deliver more value to our customers."
When notified of the meeting, TVB's Abby Auerbach commented, "TVB is keenly focused on the facilitation of end-to-end EDI solutions for the local broadcast television industry. While great strides have been made, the lack of industry accepted transaction standards remains a significant hurdle. The teaming of this group of technology providers is a positive step. The TVB EDI Committee will closely monitor the results of their collaboration."
Additional information on the spot advertising standards initiative, including minutes from today's meeting and a complete list of meeting participants, is available at www.vcisolutions.com. Other organizations interested in participating in this effort are invited to contact any member of the group, many of whom will also be exhibiting at NAB in Las Vegas, April 23-26, 2001.
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